I think I may be the only person in the universe who has never understood the fascination with Legos and didn’t particularly like The Lego Movie. I appreciated the humor in it, but ultimately it falls apart and doesn’t work as a movie. The same thing happens again with The Lego Batman Movie. It starts off great, the humor is solid and it manages to walk that line of working for both kids and adults. However, somewhere along the line the film just starts to drag, the jokes and the story become repetitive and the stuff with Batgirl and Bruce Wayne, just god awful. Check out the Video review after the break.
The movie sucks you in right from the opening credits. Will Arnett is instantly funny and likeable as Batman, but his homage to Christian Bale’s Batman voice, eventually annoyed the crap out of me. It wouldn’t have been so bad if the movie didn’t feature Batman in every frame. Which, admittedly is blasphemous to say because it is called The Lego Batman movie. The movie is just as self-centered and indulgent as Batman himself is portrayed as. I got the joke the first 30 minutes. I didn’t need to hear the gravel for 90 minutes straight.
If a joke or plot point worked once, let’s repeat it 3 or 4 more times. The movie opens with Batman fighting all of his villains led by the Joker and ends with Batman fighting a bunch of Joker led villains. In the middle we get long, torturous minutes of “drama” where we see that yeah, Batman is lonely. Yeah on the outside he doesn’t need anyone, but he’s so alone. To drive the point home in a not to subtle way, he lives on his own Island.
One of the funniest aspects of the movie is they really set it firmly within the entire WB Batman universe. There are lots of jokes related to almost all of WB’s previous Batman outings it even goes back to the Batman’s original outing in the 50s, to Batman 66, to The Dark Knight. The jokes always land but the feel too easy and eventually repetitive. I realize this is a movie for kids, so I just roll with it.
However, the idea that Bruce Wayne falls instantly in love with new police commissioner Barbara Gordon/Batgirl (Rosario Dawson) is a concept that I refuse to roll with. It’s a new meme that Warner Animation started with the terrible animated film Batman: The Killing Joke and they seem to want to make it a “canon” idea by continuing it here. It’s stupid and doesn’t work. You can’t just wipe out the Batman/Batgirl mentor dynamic and turn it into some stupid love story.
The voice acting is fine and Director Chris McKay (of Robot Chicken fame) wisely used unrecognizable voices. I never felt like I was playing a game of “name that celebrity cameo.” Michael Cera does a great Robin in small doses. After 10 minutes it becomes stupid and annoying. All the Robin jokes are amateurish and obvious ones we Batman fans have always made and that’s ultimately what is wrong with the movie.
It was made by a bunch of “old” people who are fans of the character and obviously the tired jokes that we’ve heard a million times. Yes, the movie is funny in short spurts, but I don’t need, nor want to see an emo Batman who loves to rap and beat box during his fights. This is a movie that had 20 minutes of story stretched to a 90-minute runtime.
Final Grade D